Have it your way.

—Excerpt from a Burger King jingle from the 1980s

A key factor underlying our perceptions of service encounters is the degree to which we believe we control the experience. To function effectively, however, service providers need to control encounters. Through the clever application of psychology and process design, providers can manage customer actions (behavioral control) before, during, and after the encounter and yet make the system behind the encounter sufficiently transparent so that the customer knows that it’s well managed (cognitive control) and continues to feel personally autonomous. Success at this delicate maneuvering depends on the service provider’s ability ...

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